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Rugg named Vice President of Academic Affairs, Provost at NSU

Image of Provost William Rugg

(Tahlequah, Okla.) -- After a comprehensive and public search, Dr. William Rugg has been appointed Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost for Northeastern State University.

The former Oklahoma resident has more than 25 years experience in higher education administration and will assume the provost duties on or before October 1, 2012.

Northeastern President Steve Turner said Rugg’s commitment to higher education, experience and communication style helped make him a great fit.

"I am pleased to welcome Dr. Bill Rugg to the NSU community in the critical role of Provost and Academic Vice President,” Turner said. “His commitment to students and the ‘customer experience’ aligns with efforts that are underway to enhance recruitment and retention.

“Dr. Rugg’s 25 years of administrative experience at both public and private institutions, and his love of teaching, will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our core mission to provide a quality education in northeast Oklahoma. I sincerely appreciate Dr. Doug Penisten for leading the campus wide screening process that resulted in the selection of Dr. Rugg.”

Rugg is a charter board member, consultant and faculty member of The Customer Experience Institute and resides in Reno, Nev. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi in higher education administration and student services.

The veteran of higher education has held posts including Director of Academic Affairs (provost duties), Director of Distance Learning, dean, associate dean, assistant director, executive council and sequence head or program coordinator for various areas in higher education. He has supervised groups up to 2,000 employees with direct control of operating budgets exceeding $45 million.

It is a homecoming of sorts for Rugg and his wife, Denise. She was born and raised in the Oklahoma City area and he spent eight years at Oklahoma State University.

“I am delighted to have been selected for this prestigious position,” Rugg said. “It will be ‘coming home’ for my wife and me. Denise has a sister in OKC [Marti] and one in Bixby [Barb], who completed her master's and certificate in counseling at NSU. “

Rugg was selected by President Turner from a list of finalists established by a committee which included NSU faculty, staff, students and Tahlequah community members. Public presentations and question and answer sessions were held for each finalist. Everyone who sat on the committee was asked to complete a survey stating the strengths and weaknesses of each finalist.

Dr. Doug Penisten, chairman of the search committee, said Rugg was the top candidate that emerged from this inclusive search.

"I certainly want to acknowledge the members of the search committee and their outstanding work in this endeavor,” Penisten said. “Their hard work and dedication to Northeastern State University has achieved the commitment they all made to the mission to find the best person for the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost position."

With more than 35 years teaching experience in all aspects of television production and directing, Rugg has authored television/film curriculum for Arkansas State University and the University of Texas at El Paso. He has also written several new courses in the broadcast area and has conducted five graduate seminars at Oklahoma State University. Plus, Rugg was a member of the graduate faculty at Oklahoma State University and Northern Arizona University and sat on several masters and doctoral degree committees.

It was the energy and dedication of the faculty, staff and students and the excitement for the future that led Rugg to Northeastern.

“I was very impressed with what I saw and heard during my recent visit to NSU,” Rugg said. “There are many exciting things happening in Tahlequah and on the campus that I am very much looking forward to being a part of. There is outstanding potential there, and I have the background and experience to assist Dr. Turner and rest of the faculty and staff to help NSU continue to move forward with improved quality in the classroom and technology—enhanced learning opportunities.”

NSU senior Chuck Philpy said he is excited about the selection of Rugg as the newest addition to the Northeastern family.

“Having served on the selection committee, I can say with confidence, that he is the best man for Northeastern now and in the impending future,” the cellular biology major from Eads, Colo., said. “I was particularly drawn to Dr. Rugg due to his diverse background and his clear stance as an advocate for students. Dr. Rugg, in my opinion, has the tools needed to take Northeastern to the next level and to improve our recruitment and retention rates so that more of us may cross the stage as Northeastern graduates.”

Dr. Cari Keller, Chair for Criminal Justice, Legal Studies and Homeland Security, said she thinks this appointment reflects the values and mission of the NSU faculty.

“NSU's faculty are dedicated professionals who work very hard, every day, to create the best learning environment for our students,” Keller said. “We value excellence and innovation in student-centered learning and teaching, both in the traditional and nontraditional settings.

“We value excellence in scholarship and the contribution that we make to our disciplines. We value service to our communities and to each other. Dr. Rugg understood our mission and sense of community. He expressed ideas to support our values and work with us to achieve our goals. He understands the challenges that we face in a changing higher education landscape and the need to meet these challenges head on.”

Dr. Isabel Baker, community member of the search committee, said Rugg’s broadcasting background and connection to Oklahoma stood out.

"I truly believe Dr. Rugg is a great fit for NSU,” Baker said. “His broad background in positions in major institutions, his earlier connection with an Oklahoma institution of higher education and family ties in Oklahoma just makes sense in filling this crucial position at NSU.

“His background in communications combined with his leadership experience will serve all of us well as he relates to faculty, students and staff. His clear emphasis on team success really impressed me in the interview process. I know the people of Tahlequah join me in welcoming Dr. Rugg to his new home, Tahlequah and Northeastern State University."

Rugg received his Ph.D degree in higher education administration and student services with a secondary emphasis on speech communication and broadcast production from the University of Mississippi. He attained his master’s in speech communication and broadcasting from Utah State and completed his bachelor’s in English and theater from Barrington College in Barrington, Rhode Island (now named Gordon College in Wenham, MA).

The provost is a senior administrative officer who assumes the responsibilities of the university presidency when the president is away from campus. The provost fulfills daily duties as vice president of academic affairs. The Office of Academic Affairs promotes NSU's academic endeavors by supporting excellence in teaching, scholarly activity and service to the community.

More information about Dr. Rugg is available on the NSU website in the human resources section.

Published: 8/24/2012 1:17:44 PM

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